Monday, February 18, 2013

Incredibly Ugly

Over the weekend, I spent a considerable amount of time looking at images of fabric necklaces and was amazed at how incredibly ugly the majority of them were. Just on Etsy alone, a search for fabric necklace brings up 9,850 items of which only a small percentage were at all attractive. Obviously, this is only my opinion and just as obviously I won't be illustrating my point of view because that would be rude but it did cause me to wonder if I could make (what I think is... ) a gorgeous piece. I love fabric. I love jewelry. The challenge of putting them together in a beautiful, wearable, someone else would actually want one of these too, or at least it gets a compliment, or it makes people look twice, kind of way, tickles. Not to sell. For the challenge. After reading Over-Dressed, I have even more opinions on sewing and selling and refashioning and zero waste but I'll save that for another posting. Right now, about my blouse.




This may be incredibly ugly as well. Or just lazy. Or simply indicative of the state of my life but either way, I was in no mood to make buttonholes especially after I realized that I'd measured the two fronts against each other at the edge and not at center front which meant one side was longer than the other. URGH! But...

... I wanted to know how the blouse fit and felt when I wore it so I sewed the buttons on with no holes, put it over my head, and wore it all day Saturday. No one noticed. I pointed it out to a few people (because I just had too...) and their reaction was too funny. It was a wearable muslin. I wore it. Now, I know what to do differently next time.

I was very aware of the pulling across the back as if it wasn't wide enough but in reality, it was the armhole that was the problem. Because the shoulders are too wide, the sleeve was slightly dropped, and there wasn't a full range of arm movement. I find it fascinating that something can be more closely but correctly fitted and feel far more comfortable than a garment with excess ease and improper fitting.




There's a little too much hip action in this photo but it illustrates my point. See how the upper back is too wide? When that's narrowed, the sleeve cap will sit higher and the armhole won't pull and it'll all lay in better. Once I'd shortened the length, there was too much as opposed to not enough hip ease so I'll narrow it out slightly along the princess seams in the back. Not too much. I don't want to over-fit.




With this version, I made a 1/2" narrow back adjustment and a 1 1/2" sway back adjustment. For the next one, I'll redraft with narrower shoulders and a higher sleeve cap and make a 1/2" narrow back adjustment, shorten CF and CB length by 1/2" and make a 1" sway back adjustment which will lift the curve of the princess seams to a higher, more flattering point, and adjust the finished length by 3 1/2".




From the front, you can see more clearly why the shoulders need narrowing. Otherwise, the bust point is correct and the finished ease is a comfortable amount. I like the length of the sleeve and the bicep and cap ease worked great. All good. All pointing to another version with...




... more fun in the mix. I bought this cotton print a few years ago. It's a bit strong for my face so the plan is to use it for the sleeves, side front and side back and to mix in more prints for the center front, center back, collar, and collar stand. Mixing is a bit difficult. It seems huge amounts of my stash is knit when I'm now ready to sew wovens again. How typical. BUT... I did get a lovely knit from MarcyTilton.com for Christmas that would be fun to mix with other knits and sew a knit blouse from. This one first.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - signs of spring

10 comments:

  1. WOW it looks so nice. For years one of the first pattern adjustments I made was a narrow-shoulder alteration. Recently, I've started tracing size 12/38 at the neckline and across the shoulders and then merging with the size 14/40 of the armscye. It sounds odd, but reliably works for me.

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    1. Thanks Bev. I'll probably be taking it in an inch which is more than the difference between two sizes. Shoulder width seems to be all over the place. I read the reviews and compare the sizes to my moulage and usually make a decision from there. With one pattern, I sewed an 8 which is a lot smaller than my regular 14. With this one, I just wanted to see how it turned out as drafted, enjoy the sewing, and go from there.

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  2. "Ugly" is such an unpleasant word.
    "Incredibly Ugly" is an incredibly ugly thing to say.

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    1. If I had applied my statement specifically to an artist's work, it would have been rude and offensive and extremely cruel which is why I applied it generally and stated clearly it is only my opinion. It was my observation and how I felt that created the challenge for me. There's no other way to say that.

      Recently, I read a blog posting about are we as a community of sewing bloggers too nice. At times, I think we are and I also think there's a balance between saying everything is beautiful when it's not and being deliberately cruel and offensive. Positive critique is hard to give. Critique is often hard to receive. That's the wonderful thing about having other sewists whose opinions you respect.

      My words harmed no one specifically. They illustrated an inspirational awareness for myself. They were not meant to be harmful.

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  3. Positive critique IS hard to give and receive. Among writers, the most effective way to handle it is to use "the writer" instead of "you." (As in, "I'm not sure what the writer was trying to achieve here." A lame example, but I hope you understand what I'm getting at.)

    Beats me how one handles it when it comes to clothing/knitting/other craft blogs! There's no way to sidestep the fact that this is an intensely personal medium.

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    1. I got a good giggle imagining several I'm not sure what the sewist was trying to achieve here... scenarios.

      It's too bad that positive critique is not welcomed more. There is so much to learn from it and it's invaluable to growth to have at least one creative relationship in which you hear the truth. It's something I've actively searched for. That said, a relationship and a level of respect is what makes giving and receiving critique achievable. When I'm instructing a workshop, I'm able to give critique around the assignment and the goals of the students and it's desired because that's what they are there for - to learn. And I've always gotten good reviews so I must be doing it with tact.

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  4. Hi Myrna - It seems we were working in tandem over the weekend - even though we are on opposite sides of the pond. Whilst I quite like your blouse, mine is a wadder [read 'No Roses This Time' and you'll see] Do you think it is the fact that they are both navy blue? Seriously [well almost] it is a very hard colour to wear - especially near the face. Whatever you feel about this,someone will love it and fit it - isn't that the mantra of RTW? Onward and Upward, your work is good and skill and determination are there in bucketloads. Back to the drawing board, that's where I'll be! Maureen.

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    1. It might be a wadder but I loved what you did with the buttons. Too big always has more options than too small because it can be cut down into something. What about a sleeveless blouse?

      I hadn't thought about navy being a difficult color. Most people can wear most colors. It just depends on the shade. My blouse is purple but the purple has a grey base and that washes everything out. I look better in clear colors.

      Good luck with your next version.

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  5. Myrna I have just had another thought taking a good look at the back of the blouse, would and narrow back yoke [to fit the shoulders] and small pleats over the shoulder blades [to fit the underarm ease] fit the problem on the next blouse? just a thought,

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    1. Great idea but not necessary. A narrow shoulder adjustment will do the trick. There are several ways to do that but in this case I'll simply narrow each princess seam at the shoulder merging it back into the original seamline.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.